History Files
 

 

Middle East Kingdoms

Anatolia

 

 

 

Ottoman Empire
AD 1290 - 1924

Control of the Islamic empire was lost by the Arabic Abbasid Caliphate when the Il-Khan Mongols killed the last caliph in 1258. Initially, while the Mongols ruled Mesopotamia and eastern Anatolia, the Ottomans focused on conquering and securing western Anatolia and Greece. Governance of the Mongol eastern section was inherited by the Mongol Il-Khanate. From 1453 the Ottomans made their capital at former Byzantine Constantinople. A puppet Abbasid caliphate was set up by the Mamelukes in Egypt, so when they were conquered by the Ottomans in 1517, Constantinople inherited the caliphate.

(Additional information from The History of Islam (Vol 2), Akbar Shah Najeebabadi (Revised Edition), and from Josafa Barbaro & Ambrogio Contarini: Travels to Tana and Persia, Henry E J Stanley (Ed, Hakluyt Society Series No 49, 1873).)

Suleyman Shah

Chief of the Kayı tribe, Bozok federation of Oghuz. Died 1236.

According to tradition, Suleyman Shah drowns in the River Euphrates. He is laid to rest in a tomb which lies on the river's banks where he remains undisturbed until the twentieth century. According to a treaty signed in 1921 with the administering French authorities, the sit is now part of Turkish territory, giving the Turks the right to station guards and fly their flag there. When the original site is due to be flooded by the creation of the Lake Assad reservoir in 1974, the tomb and its legal enclave are moved some eighty kilometres north.

In February 2015, a force of several hundred Turkish troops and armoured vehicles enter northern Syria. They remove the tomb (located about thirty-five kilometres (twenty miles) south of Kobane), and relieve the unit of forty-or-so men guarding it. The tomb complex is destroyed in order to prevent its use by Islamic State. The tomb will be moved to a safer site in Syria, one closer to the border which is under Turkish military control.

Ertuğrul

Son. Chief of the Kayi tribe. Died 1281.

1290 - 1326

Osman I

Son. First sultan (ruler) of the empire.

1308 - 1326

Seljuq Rum is overthrown. Bursa [Prusa] is taken from Byzantium in 1326.

1315

During the Ottoman siege of Rhodes, Count Amadeus of Savoy adds his forces to those of the defending Knights Hospitaller. This is just the first (and least) of several attacks upon the island and its new masters, all of which are successfully repelled.

1326 - 1359

Orxan / Orhan

1331 - 1354

Iznik (Nicaea) is taken in 1331. Izmid (Nicomedia) is taken in 1337. Both Gelibolu (Kallipolis) and Ankara (Angora) are taken in 1354.

1359 - 1389

Murad I

1361 - 1387

Edirne (Adrianople) is taken in 1361. Konya (Iconium) is taken in 1387. Thessalonica is taken in 1387.

1389 - 1402

Bayezid I Yildirim / Bayaat

Imprisoned by Timur.

1396

The Battle of Nicopolis results in defeat for the allied European forces. Amongst the participants is Duke Charles II of Lorraine and Count John the Fearless of Nevers. The Bulgars are conquered and occupied by the Turks.

1402

Timur defeats, captures and imprisons Bayezid at the Battle of Ankara, making Anatolia another province of Timurid Persia. In return for his support now and during Timur's invasion of the Caucuses and eastern Anatolia in 1386-1394, Qara Osman is granted Diyar Bakir on the banks of the Tigris (now one of the largest cities in south-eastern Turkey). Conflicting reports state that the Ak Qonyulu conquer it from one of the descendants of the former Ayyubid governor, Saladin.

Diyar Bakar in Turkey
Even today the staunch walls surrounding ancient Diyar Bakir - now known as the Old Quarter - are still very evident, with the city being a prize worth capturing due to its position on the old trade routes

1402 - 1421

Mehmed I

1405

Timur's death in Persia acts as a prompt for the Ottomans to re-invade Greater Armenia and annexe it to their own empire.

1421 - 1451

Murad II

1451 - 1481

Mehmed II Fatih 'the Conqueror'

1453

The Byzantine capital at Constantinople is finally captured by Mehmed, bringing to an end the last vestiges of the Roman empire and making Greece an Ottoman province. The loss is viewed as a disaster for the Christian world.

1462

The Ottomans conquer Argos.

1467 - 1469

Uzun Hassan of the rival White Sheep emirate is responsible for the death of the powerful Black Sheep emir, Jahan Shah. He also captures and executes Abu Sa'id of Transoxiana in 1468. Subsequently, Uzun Hassan is able to capture Baghdad, along with territories around the Persian Gulf. He expands his emirate into Iran as far east as Khorasan, replacing the Black Sheep emirs as the main regional power. However, around this time, the Ottomans are also seeking an eastwards expansion. This poses a serious threat to the White Sheep, and Uzun is forced to seek an alliance with the Karamanids of central Anatolia.

1470

The important island of Negroponte (Euboea in Greece) is captured.

1473

Having requested military aid as early as 1464 from one of the most powerful of the opponents of the Ottoman rulers, Venice, Uzun Hassan of the White Sheep emirate is disappointed to find that the aid fails to arrive when he most needs it. Instead he is defeated by the Ottomans at the Battle of Otlukbeli in 1473. The Ak Qoyunlu survive, however.

Map of the Tartar Khanates AD 1500
The Mongol empire created by Chingiz Khan gradually broke up over the course of three hundred years until, by around AD 1500, it had fragmented into several more-or-less stable khanates that each vied with the others for power and influence, while having to fend off the growing power of the Ottoman empire to the south and Moscow Sate (Muscovy) to the north - in the end it was an unwinnable fight (click on map to show full sized)

1474 - 1475

Ambrogio Contarini is a Venetian diplomat and merchant who, during his travels, records his adventures throughout the east as a form of travelogue. As the envoy of Venice, he has been visiting the royal court at Isfahan in 1474 in pursuit of a military alliance with Uzun Hassan against the mutually hostile Ottomans. The talks are largely fruitless (especially after the events of 1473), so in 1475 Contarini begins a circuitous return that must by necessity avoid the Ottomans. The task is even more difficult because, at the start of 1475, they conquer Caffa and the Crimean khanate. Contarini travels through Derbent in Dagestan and visits Astrakhan to be able to access the Volga and a return to Europe via Moscow state.

1479

After the capture of Scutari, and a battle in Friuli, peace is agreed with Venice.

1481 - 1512

Bayezid II

1491

The Crimean khanate apparently seizes all of the Great Horde's horses, and encourages Moscow to deliver the death blow as a result. Both Moscow and the Ottomans dispatch forces which include Russian cavalry, Tartars, and Janissaries. This causes part of the horde to secede in November 1491, while the remainder is routed by its enemies.

1499 - 1503

A fresh war breaks out against Venice. The Ottomans gain Modone and Lepanto.

1512 - 1520

Selim I Yavuz

1515 - 1517

Mameluke Egypt, Libya, and Syria (an Egyptian Mameluke possession) are conquered. The Mamelukes continue to hold some control as vassals, under the overview of Ottoman Governors, while the puppet Abbasid caliph, al Mutawakkil III, is transported to Constantinople by Ottoman Sultan Selim I Yavuz. The sultan is later credited with assuming the caliphate himself, while some sources state that he is named as Caliph al Mutawakkil's heir apparent, probably with the caliph having very little choice in the matter.

1520 - 1566

Suleyman I the Magnificent

1526

Hungary is conquered following defeat at the Battle of Mohács, and the principality of Transylvania taken.

Ottoman coin
The Ottoman conquest of Egypt saw an influx of Ottoman coins, with this example being issued during the reign of Suleyman I the Magnificent (1520-1566)

1537 - 1540

Another war is fought against Venice, with more territory in Morea (the Greek Peloponnesus) being gained.

1538

Moldavia is conquered by the Ottomans.

1553 - 1555

The Italian War results in an invasion of Corsica in 1553 which disrupts Genoese rule of the island. French and Ottoman forces team up in the Mediterranean to disrupt coastal areas that are loyal to or controlled by the Holy Roman Emperor. The French are the driving force behind these operations in their attempt to gain control of Italy. They raid the coasts of Corsica, Elba, Naples, and Sicily. Then a force of French and Ottomans, together with Corsican exiles, capture the strategically important island, robbing the empire of a vital line of communications. Their fleets leave as winter approaches, with a fairly small garrison of 5,000 second line troops remaining behind. Genoa immediately organises a counter-invasion with 15,000 men, and much of Corsica is retaken in 1554, with the rest being gained in 1555.

1550

A combination of Spanish encroachment along the coast and the intervention of the Ottoman empire, with the latter ostensibly taking up the Muslim cause against Christian aggression, causes Algiers to be subsumed within the Ottoman empire, being governed as an autonomous province from the Barbary Corsair capital there.

1565

The beylerbey of Damascus, Lala Kara Mustafa Pasha, commands the Ottoman land forces during the (Great) Siege of Malta. The island's defenders are the Knights Hospitaller, together with up to 5,000 Maltese troops. The siege is one of the bloodiest on record, and the island loses about a third of its manpower, in knights and civilians. But the Ottomans are defeated with very heavy losses of their own, and they never again threaten Malta. The defeat also denies them control of the western Mediterranean and the chance to strike deeper at southern European states.

1566 - 1574

Selim II

1570 - 1573

Venice, the Pope and Spain all ally to defeat the Turks at the naval Battle of Lepanto in 1571 after Selim begins besieging Cyprus. The island is still captured by the Turks in 1573.

1573 - 1574

Selim II conquers Tunis and topples the ruling Hafsids. A few last Hafsids claim power but hold virtually none before the Ottomans take complete control of Tunisia.

1574 - 1595

Murad III

1595 - 1603

Mehmed III

1603 - 1617

Ahmed I

1611

The principality of Wallachia is conquered by the Ottomans.

1617 - 1618

Mustafa I

1618 - 1622

Osman II

Assassinated by Janissaries.

1621

The Polish Commonwealth defeats a major attempt by the Ottoman empire to enter and conquer its territory when former elder of Samogitia, Jonas Karolis Kotkevicius, holds the fortress of Chocim in the path of the advancing 200,000-strong Turkish army. The first snows of winter force the Ottomans to withdraw in defeat.

1622 - 1623

Ahmed I

Restored.

1623 - 1640

Murad IV

1631

The Ottoman empire is still the most powerful state in the region both in wealth and military capability. The personal style of government, however, cultivated among the earlier sultans has vanished. In place of sultanic government, the bureaucracy pretty much runs the show, and cracks begin to appear in the empire's unity during this century.

1640 - 1648

Ibrahim

1644 - 1669

The Ottomans besiege Candia (Heraklion). Venice loses Crete, the last island in its old sea empire.

1648 - 1649

The former chamberlain and then chief of the treasury, Sofu Mehmed Pasha is dismissed during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim. He briefly manages to become governor of Damascus before being forced by the janissary leaders to become grand vizier during a period of disturbance. Ibrahim is dethroned five days later and killed ten days after that, and Sofu is suspected of being present at his execution. Less than a year after gaining the post, he is replaced and exiled. Kara Murad Pasha, commander of the janissary, has him executed in August 1649.

Ottoman janissaries
The janissaries were infantry units that formed the Ottoman sultan's bodyguard and household troops, but they also sometimes played a role in deciding who sat on the throne

1648 - 1687

Mehmed IV

Aged 7 at accession.

1663 - 1664

The Fourth Austro-Turkish War ends in the Battle of Saint Gotthard on 1 August 1664 in which the Ottomans are defeated by Austrian troops under Raimondo Montecuccoli (with a company of 140 men being led by Count Herman Adolph of Lippe-Detmold). The Turks are forced to agree to the Peace of Vasvár with Austria.

1672 - 1699

The Polish region of Podolia is occupied, and Ottoman governors are appointed to control it, although the life expectancy of each holder of the post is relatively short.

1683

John III of Poland and Charles V of Lorraine lift the siege of the Austrian capital of Vienna on 12 September, ending Ottoman expansion in Europe by drawing a metaphorical line in the sand.

1684 - 1694

Venice re-conquers the Morea (the Greek Peloponnesus).

1687 - 1691

Suleyman II

1691 - 1695

Ahmed II

1697

The Shihabi amirs of Lebanon become semi-independent.

1695 - 1703

Mustafa II

1703 - 1730

Ahmed III

1705 - 1707

A period of in-fighting is triggered between various factions of the Ottoman military forces in Tunis. The Husainid dynasty is born when Husain, son of Ottoman Janissary 'Ali at-Turk, wins the battle and seizes control. Two years later Husain is recognised as the Ottoman viceroy of Ifriqiya.

1718

Morea is finally and definitively conquered from Venice.

1722 - 1723

Sensing the weakness of the Safavid empire, Czar Peter the Great of Russia launches the Russo-Persian War of 1722-1723. Otherwise known as the 'Persian Expedition of Peter the Great, the war is designed to increase Russian influence in the Caucuses and prevent the Ottoman empire from increasing its own regional authority. Astrabad, Baku, Derbent, Gilan, Mazandaran, and Shirvan are all successfully won (only to be subsequently leased back to Afsharid Persia between 1732-1735 now that the two states are allies against the Ottomans).

1727

An attempted invasion of Afghanistan which is held by the weakening Hotaki dynasty of Afghans is repulsed.

1730 - 1754

Mahmud I

1744

The emerging power of Muhammad ibn Saud joins up with a religious leader named Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab in Nejd in central Arabia. Together they forge a small Saudi state based around Riyadh. It pushes outwards from there.

1754 - 1757

Osman III

1757 - 1774

Mustafa III

1768 - 1774

The Mameluke Beys seize power in Egypt and thereafter their successors remain de facto rulers of the country. In the same year, the First Russo-Turkish War is triggered as part of Catherine the Great's move to secure the conquest of territory on Russia's southern borders. Following the repression of revolts in Poland-Lithuania, Russia becomes involved in chasing rebels across the southern border into Ottoman territory. The Ottomans imprison captured Russian forces, effectively declaring war. Despite being slow to mobilise, in 1774 Russia wins Kabardia (in the North Caucuses), part of the Yedisan between the Bug and Dnieper (now covering south-western Ukraine and south-eastern Moldova (southern Transnistria), and the Crimea. Georgia also joins the Russian empire as a client kingdom while the khanate of Crimea is granted nominal independence.

Torelli Stefano's Allegory of Catherine the Great's Victory over the Turks and Tatars
Torelli Stefano's Allegory of Catherine the Great's Victory over the Turks and Tatars was painted in 1772, combining images of concrete historical personages with figures from the artists' free-flying imagination - the painting was commissioned to glorify the victory of the Russian army in the first Russo-Turkish War (1768-1774) and Catherine the Great is portrayed as the goddess Minerva in a triumphal chariot (click on image to see full sized)

1787 - 1792

The Second Russo-Turkish War is part of the ongoing struggle for hegemony between the Russian and Ottoman empires around the Black Sea coast. Stung by the apparent permanent loss of the Crimea, the Ottoman empire launches a campaign to regain territory that had been lost to Russia in the previous Russo-Turkish War. The Ottomans have to fight on two fronts - the other being the Austro-Turkish War of 1787 - as Austria and Russia have agreed an alliance. Ottoman troops are hopelessly ill-prepared and badly led, and their defeats results in the sudden death of Sultan Abdul-Hamid I. Russia gains Yedisan (Odessa and Ochakov), while the Dniester becomes the new frontier.

1774 - 1789

Abdul-Hamid I

Died suddenly.

1789 - 1807

Selim III

1806

Russia takes the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia from the Ottomans in battle and occupy the region. Upon the advance into Russia of the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, they sign a quick treaty and evacuate their troops northwards.

1807 - 1808

Mustafa IV

1808 - 1839

Mahmud II

1821 - 1829

The Greek War of Independence begins against rule by the Ottoman empire. War is declared in 1821 and revolts quickly spring up in Central Greece, Crete, and Macedonia. A makeshift Greek navy prevents Ottoman reinforcements from being landed in the country. Muhammed Ali brings Egyptian forces into the conflict in 1825 and much of the revolt is put down. However, the Egyptian fleet is sunk at the Battle of Navarino in 1827 by a fleet consisting of Russians, French and British.

1827

The Treaty of London is signed, in which Britain, France and Russia support Greek independence, and following the freeing of Central Greece in 1828, the beginnings of an independent state are created.

1828 - 1832

The Russo-Turkish War, triggered by the fighting in Greece and the Danubian principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, ends in the Peace of Adrianople. Sultan Mahmud closes the Dardanelles to Russian vessels but the Russians lay siege to three major Ottoman cities in Bulgaria. In the end, despite an embarrassing defeat along the way, Russia wins the mouth of the Danube and much of the Black Sea's western coast under the terms of the peace, or Treaty of Adrianople. Serbia also achieves autonomy while the London Conference in 1830 recognises Greek independence. In 1832 a monarchy is installed there under Otto of the Bavarian Wittelsbachs.

1830 - 1837

France invades Algiers and conquers it in progressive stages. The dey of Algiers surrenders and is exiled after just three weeks of fighting and, following early French military command, governors administer the country for the French state. The bey of Constantine (capital of north-western Algeria) becomes France's greatest opposition in the region, with a well-organised resistance to invasion that survives until 1837.

1839 - 1861

Abdul-Mejid I

1842

Direct rule of Lebanon is reacquired.

1854 - 1856

Britain and France join the Ottoman empire in the Crimean War against Russia, to halt Russian expansion. The war ends with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, a severe setback to Russian ambitions.

1861 - 1876

Abdul-Aziz

1876

Murad V

1876 - 1909

Abdul-Hamid II the Damned

1883

France invades Tunisia from Algeria, removing Ottoman control of the country.

1894

The attempted extermination of the Armenians within the Ottoman empire is put into action under Sultan Abd al-Hamid II. It is sporadically resumed, notably from 24 April 1915, and the after-effects continue to rumble on into the present.

1905

Eleutherios Venizelos, the Greek 'lion of Crete', wins the independence of his island from Turkey.

1909 - 1918

Mehmed V

1911

Ottoman Libya is invaded by Italy, which establishes a protectorate in 1912.

1913

Britain and the Ottoman government sign a treaty recognising the independence of Bahrain. Cyprus is also lost to the British. Bahrain remains under British protection and is rapidly developing itself into a thoroughly modern state. It is quickly becoming a business centre for the gulf and India. Iran claims sovereignty over Bahrain through its previous links to the Islamic empire.

1914 - 1915

Turkey moves to join its allies, Germany and Austria-Hungary, by declaring war against Britain, France, and Russia on 31 October. Its first moves in support of that declaration are slow to occur, but Turkish troops eventually open their main front in the Caucuses against Russia.

From 24 April 1915 the Ottomans seemingly resume their persecution of Armenians within the empire by accusing them of aiding the Russian invaders. Over 600,000 Armenians are killed by Turkish soldiers or die of starvation during their forced deportation to Ottoman-controlled Syria and Iraq. The Armenians rise in revolt at Lake Van (the traditional location at which the Armenian state had been founded), which they hold until relieved by Russian troops.

1916 - 1918

The British-backed Arab Revolt is proclaimed with an attack on Medina (where the Prophet Mohammed had died in AD 632). The revolt liberates much of the Middle East from Ottoman control, but the two sides also battle each other inside Persia's borders, leading to a movement against the weak shah. At the end of the conflict, Britain and the Hashemite Arabs take control of Iraq and Kuwait, Palestine, and the Transjordan, and France controls Lebanon and Syria. On 30 October 1918, Turkey signs an armistice at Mudros, on the Aegean island of Lemnos.

1918 - 1922

Mehmed VI

Deposed and exiled as head of the House of Osman.

1920 - 1922

On 10 August 1920 Britain, France and other powers officially dismember the Ottoman empire with the signing of the Treaty of Sevres and occupy Constantinople and Izmir. Greece attempts to seize a large section of western Anatolia but Turkish troops capture Smyrna on 10 September 1922, massacring the Greek population and ending the Greek-Turkish War. After having colonised western Turkey some three thousand years before, at the end of the Mycenaean period, all Greeks are now expelled from Turkey, many of them having been Turkish in all but name for generations and not being able to speak Greek at all.

1922 - 1924

Abdul-Mecid II

Caliph only. Expelled from Turkey. Not recognised until 1926.

1923

The Ottoman empire collapses and on 29 October 1923 a republic of Turkey is declared. On 1 November the newly founded parliament formally dissolves the sultanate. On 1 March 1924, the caliphate is formally abolished by the Turkish Grand National Assembly. Two days later the title is claimed by the Hashemite king of Hijaz, Husayn, who is the last to do so before it is revived by the Islamic State in 2014.

Modern Turkey
AD 1924 - Present Day

Modern Turkey began on 29 October 1923 when the republic was declared out of the ruins of the Ottoman empire and the failure of the country's First World War effort. However, the first steps towards republic had been taken after the armistice was signed in 1918. A former lieutenant colonel in the army, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938), convened the Erzurum Congress between 23 July to 7 August 1919 and the subsequent Sivas Congress on 4-11 September 1919, which laid out the path to freeing the country from Allied control. War followed, with Turkey finally re-establishing itself as a fully independent state on 24 July 1923 after the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne. The declaration of a republic soon followed, with Atatürk being unanimously elected the first president.

The Ottoman rulers of the House of Osman were expelled from Turkey in 1924 and refused re-admittance. Their property was confiscated. It wasn't until after the 1950s that they were granted re-entry, and in the 1990s, the right of citizenship followed. Successive heirs and claimants to the Ottoman throne are shown with a shaded background.

The capital of modern Turkey is Ankara, a city founded by the ancient Phrygians and then occupied and settled by invading Celts after they formed the kingdom of Galatia in the third century BC. It, and Turkey as a whole, is bordered to the east by Georgia, Armenia, and Iran, to the south by Iraq, Syria (and also Islamic State in 2014), and Cyprus, by Greece and Bulgaria to the west, and across the Black Sea to the north by Ukraine and Russia.

(Details on republican Turkey and the Ottoman heirs by Hayreddin Barbarossa and Dalim Bulut. Additional information from External Links: German MPs recognise Armenian 'genocide' amid Turkish fury (BBC), and from BBC News.)

1922 - 1926

Mehmed VI

Moved to San Remo where he died 16 May.

1926 - 1944

Abdul-Mecid II / Abdul Mejid

Former Caliph. Recognised on Mehmed's death. Died 23 Aug.

1930

Constantinople is renamed Istanbul as part of Kemal Atatürk's campaign to create a secular Turkey.

1944 - 1954

Ahmed IV Nihad

Grandson of Murad V. Died 4 Jun.

1945

After previously agreeing with Nazi Germany to remain neutral, Turkey enters the Second World War on the Allied side against Germany on 23 February, but takes little active participation in the war's closing days.

1952

Turkey becomes a member of NATO during its transition from political association to integrated military structure, a necessity made apparent by the perceived increase in threat level from Communist states during the Korean War.

1954 - 1973

Osman IV Fuad

Brother of Ahmed IV. Died in Nice on 22 May.

1960 - 1961

There is a military coup in Turkey. The prime minister and two ministers are hanged, the constitution is replaced, and parliament is suspended. The leaders of the revolt then appoint a popular figure in Turkey, General Cemal Gürsel, to take command. Despite multiple coup attempts against him, as well as an assassination attempt, Gürsel restores civilian control in October 1961.

1960 - 1961

Cemal Gürsel

Military head of state.

1971

There is another military coup in Turkey which leads to the fall of the government and the establishment of several interim governments. Known as the 'coup by memorandum', it is this piece of paper that delivers the coup rather than tanks on the streets.

1973 - 1977

[Mehmed] Abdulaziz II / Abdul-Aziz II

Brother of Osman IV. Born 1901. Died 19 Jan.

1974

The Greek military government attempts to invade Cyprus and put it under direct Greek control. In response, Turkish airborne troops seize the north-eastern third of the country.

1977 - 1983

Ali Vâsib

Son of Ahmed IV. Born 14 Oct 1903. Died 9 Dec.

1980

With right-wingers fighting communists on the streets, Turkey undergoes a third military coup and the National Security Council dissolves parliament. The coup's leader, General Kenan Evren, assumes the post of president and stabilises the country before returning it to civilian hands, although he remains in his post as president.

1980 - 1989

Kenan Evren

Military head of state.

1983 - 1994

Mehmed VII Orhan

Uncle to Ali. Born 27 Mar 1914. Died 12 Mar.

1994 - Present

[Ertugrul] Osman V

Brother. Born 18 Aug 1912.

1997

On 28 February there is a 'post-modern' military coup in Turkey, labelled as such because the military does not follow the usual unconstitutional actions of dissolving parliament or withdrawing the constitution. The government resigns as the result of pressure to do so.

1999

On 7 September a massive earthquake, registering 6.0, strikes in Greece from a previously unknown geological fault at a point approximately seventeen kilometres north of Athens. It causes widespread structural damage and kills 143 people. Taking place less than a month after a similar earthquake in Turkey, the Turks supply aid and rescue teams, which contributes significantly to a thaw in relations between the two countries.

Osman Bayezid Osmanoğlu

Nominated successor. Born 1924.

2015

Having consolidated its territory in 2014 and established a reputation for medieval brutality, the self-proclaimed Islamic State suffers its first substantial setbacks. Western and Arab forces unite to provide Allied air cover for Iraqi and Kurdish resistance. The town of Kobane on the Turkish border is successfully defended by the Kurds with allied air support (although Turkish tanks sit inactive on the hillside above the town, apparently with orders not to support the Kurds who are otherwise seen as a threat to its own security). By February 2015, the Kurds are making careful strategic advances further south.

2016

The controversy continues surrounding Turkey's role in the killing of ethnic Armenians during 1915. The German parliament approves a resolution declaring that the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during the First World War is classed as genocide. Turkey bitterly opposes the Bundestag (lower house) resolution, and warns that it could hurt ties. Armenians continue to uphold the claim that up to 1.5 million of their people had been killed in the atrocities of 1915. Turkey says the toll had been much lower and rejects the term 'genocide'. The timing is awkward, as the European Union needs Turkey to help stem the migrant influx from Syria.

On 15-16 July 2016, an attempted coup takes place, apparently led by the secularist opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is seen by many as shifting the country towards an increasingly pro-Muslim bias. A faction within the armed forces places tanks on the streets of Ankara and Istanbul with aerial support. A statement says that a 'peace council' now runs the country and a curfew and martial law are imposed. Limited fighting takes place as the president whips up popular opposition amongst his supporters. At least ninety people are killed and more than a thousand are wounded. Some 1,563 soldiers are arrested as the coup fails. The pro-Islamist stance is greatly strengthened during the post-coup purge of secularist opponents.